QuinRose/Sana Shirakawa – Seven Seas Entertainment – 2014 – 1 volume
this is a novel

I’m incredibly happy that we got to see one of the spinoff novels for this series in English, and in the Diamond setting to boot.  There are A LOT of these (just under 20), but about half are from Kodansha, and unlikely to be released here.  Honestly, the Ichijinsha novels are also unlikely to be released here (light novels sell notoriously poorly, and I think are somewhat more expensive to produce), but here’s hoping this one sold well, and we may see more.

I loved the Diamond setting!  It’s a lot different than Clover and Hearts (which, honestly, are almost the same).  It’s… sort of in the past, and none of the characters know Alice.  Or even like her.  Alice is with the Hatters almost exclusively (this is a Blood story), and they are incredibly violent and suspicious.  She is all but imprisoned in the Hatter Mansion for most of the novel, and has to deal with faceless guards watching her every move suspiciously, not believing she isn’t a spy.

So far, the only Blood story I’ve read was the original series, but in the other spinoffs, I know Blood is… somewhat aggravating and hard to deal with.  Not the nicest person, and not one of the characters that bends over backwards to make Alice love him.  Diamond Blood is downright aggressive and suspicious, and isn’t really a friend for most of the story.  The uncomfortable level of danger is a new and novel experience in these spinoffs, and I loved the refreshing change of pace.

There’s another character shift (still no Gowland, and *gasp* no Vivaldi or Peter), but most of the characters are irrelevant here, as are the new personalities for the old ones.  The only other character that Alice interacts with is Jericho Bermuda, the keeper of a new territory that includes an Art Museum and a Graveyard.  Alice visits his museum (which is magical), but interacting with him is problematic, since he’s also the rival gang to the Hatters, and she is living with the Hatters, who think she’s spying on them.

The story mostly centers around Alice getting to know the world, trying to figure out the new Blood, and periodically going to the Survey Event, which is the Diamond equivalent to the Ball or Clover Conference.  Except it’s a kind of contest you can bet on.  It’s pretty cool.

Again, it’s an awesome story, and I’m glad it was told in the form of a novel (that we got to read in English!!!).  The only thing I didn’t really like about it were some of the puzzling choices Alice made throughout.  The Hatter’s suspicions of her are related to the fact she seems so familiar with them and their grounds, but she continuously declines to tell them she came from another world.  Similarly, she hangs out with Jericho, even though she knows that’s likely to get her killed, since none of the Hatters like her here.

But it’s worth reading!  I almost never mention this, but there are a few illustrations by Nana Fumitsuki, and she has really pretty black and white art.  I wish we had a spinoff manga drawn by her, but her style might be too detailed for that.

Pick it up!  I’m dying to read more of these, especially in the Diamond setting.  All the Diamond stories are novels, though, so the only way to get more is to run out and buy this one!